People booking trips away have been warned to check that their travel agent has the correct ATOL certificate.

The warning comes after a man paid £1,067 to a travel website and was sent a false ATOL certificate by the company. 
He has yet to receive his tickets for flights despite booking the tickets in April.

The man, who did not wish to be named, said he was contacted after browsing a website looking for tickets to India.

Speaking to Asian Image he said: “I received an e-mail saying I had been looking for flights to India.  It was strange as I had not contacted anyone.

“I was told there were some special offers on. The flights were at a reasonable price for four adults and one child.

“I was told I needed to pay a deposit or I would lose the flights.”
According to e-mail correspondence he was offered flights to India via Dubai on July 20.  It included a booking for a hotel in Dubai for a two night stay.

The total amounted to £2,962.00 for five tickets and was booked by the company Brightway Travels (

He said: “They e-mailed me all the terms and conditions and an ATOL certificate.

“I was then told I needed to pay a deposit of £1,067 in April. I did this.

“Despite repeated calls we have not received our tickets. All we got was a confirmation.”

“We checked with Emirates and no booking had been made. We were not supplied a booking reference.

When he contacted ATOL he was told Brightway Travels was not connected to the firm whose ATOL number he had been sent.

Asian Image:  

ATOL confirmed to Asian Image, Brightway Travels was on its list of websites displaying false ATOL information. 

The legitimate company Pleasureseekers Ltd (ATOL number 3054) told Asian Image they have been contacted by a number of people who have had similar issues.

A search on the ATOL website reveals the following notice for customers, “The website is not connected with Pleasureseekers Limited. The following is a link to our information about websites displaying false ATOL Protection references.”

A spokesman for Pleasureseekers Ltd said: “I can confirm that Brightway Travels has nothing to do with our company and they are using our ATOL and IATA fraudulently.  This has been reported to the CAA and they have put a message on the CAA website as a warning.

“We have had several phone calls regarding the matter from customers who have made bank transfers to the company in good faith.”

Asian Image:

The website lists travel prices from some the world's leading arilines

Mark Rayner, head of ATOL Enforcement, said: “ATOL gives you the peace of mind that you won’t lose your money and will get home safely even if your travel company goes bust.

“However, we are aware of a number of websites advertising unusually cheap deals, which are operated from abroad and falsely claiming to have ATOL protection.

“It is really important that customers look beyond the price and check, and double check, the travel company has ATOL protection. Once you’ve confirmed this and paid for your holiday, make sure you get an ATOL certificate.”

When Asian Image rang the contact numbers given for Brightway Travels, which had London and Middlesborough area codes, we were put through to a call centre.

However despite repeated requests for a manager to speak to us no-one was available for comment.